HG Podcast

    This new podcast is another entry into the world of bilingual Japanese-English podcasts like Bilingual News and Bilingual NY — a category that could honestly always use more entries, if you ask me. HG stands for ヘタレ外人, which you can translate as something like "lame/weak foreigner" podcast.

    Run by a native English speaker who lives and works in Japan, the goal is for him to record himself speaking with his Japanese friends to both get better and share his experience with listeners and fellow learners. It's meant to bridge the gap between native/native conversations and non-native/non-native conversations.

    The inspiration behind this, according to episode one of the series, is that when we try to find native Japanese material to study from, when it's native/native Japanese, those speaking tend to go quite fast and use complicated terms. However, native speakers often speak clearer and slower when they know they're speaking to someone who is learning their language. Being his own guinea pig, HG can also ask questions a native wouldn't think to ask.

    All of this adds up to a series of casual conversations you can use to improve your listening and learn along with the creator.

    Some episodes break from the formula — one covers JLPT prep and grammar mistakes — but all of them are focused on improving your Japanese language skills.

    The audio quality isn't fantastic, but it certainly isn't the worst I've heard. Each episode also starts and ends with (fairly long!) songs in Japanese, which you may or may not enjoy, but overall this podcast is definitely worth a listen if it lines up with your current level.